Thursday, 21 April 2022

Two Days

On the way to work yesterday I contrived to go via the West Bay seafront for a 15-minute birding fix. Scanning offshore I noted a small movement of 27 Black-headed Gulls west, and this east...

The 'Bucky-Doo' gig crew giving it welly. Permanent seawatching marker in the background.

I was just about to turn away and leave when a Wheatear suddenly popped up on the sea wall in front of me, just feet away. It wasn't happy about the close proximity of a human, and immediately legged it to one of the rock groynes...

I shall be making a habit of these 'Wheatear in habitat' context type shots, because they are very, very easy.

Presumably fresh in, the Wheatear had me wondering what else might be arriving right now. Hopefully I would get a chance to find out later on...

Home in time for a late lunch, taken al fresco due to news of a decent movement of Red Kites heading west. I saw 12, mainly by scanning well south of the garden - only a couple went over close by. By 2pm I was at Cogden, and finally there were some Willow Warblers to enjoy - 17 of them...

So good to see Willow Warblers at last

Long primary projection showing nicely in this pose.

Two Lesser Whitethroats were too skulky for pics, but a single Red Kite wasn't...

Cogden Kite

And these excellent Early Purple Orchids couldn't really skulk either...

Early Purple Orchids. Nice.

There were good numbers, but I am not yet sufficiently into plants to have reached the spike-counting stage. So, 'lots' then.

Today I pulled a similar stunt, finishing work at lunchtime and sneaking off for a bit of afternoon birding. West Bexington this time. It was very quiet, and my Willow Warbler tally was zero. There were Wheatears though - two - and therefore another opportunity for a 'Wheatear in habitat' photo...

Ploughed fields are always worth a scan.

I went for another look at the plant which I hope is going to be a Green-winged Orchid, to see how it was doing...

A bit taller, but still keeping me in suspense.

It's amazing what happens when you switch from bird mode to plant mode. All of a sudden, little green things leap out of the sward and poke you in the eye...

Can you see it? Smack in the middle.

While I was peering at the ground there could have been all sorts flying overhead. This is undoubtedly a major drawback of plant mode. So, as the Black Kite drifted by unseen, circling occasionally, I got down on my knees and photographed a little green thing...

Adder's-tongue Fern

I'm not sure how common this plant is, but I do know that it's the first I have seen. At about three inches tall it looked slightly incongruous in a grassy meadow, but, I have to admit, rather smart too.

Back in bird mode, and down to the beach...


The sun was hot, the breeze cool, and a small number of drossy gulls passed by. Over lunch I had unwisely read a BBC news item about seals being harrassed, and even attacked, by people over the Easter weekend. Stuff like that depresses me hugely. My go-to antidote is something like the above. Almost prone on the beach, my back against a grassy slope studded with little clumps of Thrift; the only sound the unhurried, rhythmic 'whoosh' of surf on shingle, overlaid with top notes of Skylark. And not a human in sight. Fifteen minutes or so...

That did the trick.

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